Behind the business is the series where we bring you a different founder to share their experience of starting and running a business. We want to meet and speak with diverse business owners to show the huge variety of the UK SME ecosystem. Our LGBTQ+ series goes beyond #Pride month as a commitment to support this community all year round. If you would like to be featured, get in touch via [email protected] or
I first heard of Luke Manton, this week’s featured entrepreneur, while looking at my LinkedIn timeline in the midst of the first UK lockdown. Luke wrote with unfettered enthusiasm about his support of lockdown businesses created by those in his circle. His genuine support and backing made for a joyful and inspiring read.
With this in mind, I couldn’t wait to hear more about his business, Virtual PA agency with a difference. And that difference is Luke and his Tourettes. With a mission to out the corporate nonsense and strict rules that surround VAs. Manton Executives pride themselves in executing their work to the highest standard but in a relaxed way. So let’s dive in!
What inspired you to start Manton Executives?
I didn’t always have Tourettes as it was an adult-onset for me. Because of it, I was rejected from many jobs. I was treated differently and nobody would give me a chance. I was told being on benefits was my only option, but I wanted more than a lifetime of claiming £960pm. So I hired myself!
How has the business changed since you started and what’s next for you both?
Both I and the business have grown. Personally, I allowed myself to be seen, which I didn’t at first and it’s been incredible. Since starting, I’m happier, I’m driven, I’m excited to get to work every day. I absolutely love it.
The business recently became a limited company to allow me to expand and hire my sister full-time. We now share the roles between us and I love working with her. We want to bring a third person in the future and then I guess the possibilities are endless. There are even plans afoot for a course in the future but that’s a secret!
How do you avoid burnout, maintain work-life balance and sustain your mental health?
I’m passionate about taking time out, I believe that having time off is investing in your business. You’re investing in YOU. It’s needed in order to be at the top of your game to keep going. I have weekends off, I take breaks, I don’t always work late. I enjoy the flexibility.
What do you do to ensure your staff and customers feel accepted and supported?
I treat them like the people they are and not numbers. I know what’s going on with everyone, birthdays, awards, moving house etc, I become a friend. So many of us just enjoy having someone to talk to. I like people to know they can be themselves around me. I equally love that they accept me the way I am.
And even though we were fortunate enough not to be impacted by the pandemic, I volunteered my time and services to support local businesses that were struggling, to help out with their marketing, etc.
What advice would you like to pass on to future entrepreneurs?
Just do it, if you second guess yourself, you’ll never get there. I wanted to do it for years but I didn’t out of fear. When I finally did it, I wished I’d started years ago!
Where can people find you online or on social media?